March 2020 has dropped us into a reality that only a few weeks ago seemed a world away. Now, we are here, in COVID land. How do we challenge our beliefs that cause us great fear and anxiety? The media hype, numerous social media posts, reassuring newsletters and fake news seems to be the order of the day. How do we sift through what is true, and what is not? How do we manage the thoughts that blue tac onto the walls of our mind in a way that sticks and loops into thoughts of anxiety and hopelessness?
Now is the time we go to enquiry. By doing the The Work - Byron Katie's 4 questions and the turnarounds (flip our thought statements around to find different ways of looking at the same reality) we open ourselves to what is really there - reality - no stories, no judgements, no fear, no anxiety - just reality. Byron Katie says: reality is far kinder than our thoughts. I have to say when I do the work on my own situation - she is right!
When we do the work, get clear and we take our next steps borne from the clarity that comes for us. It is now that those of you who have started to learn how to do the work, can see how any disturbance calls us to do the work, to mindfully engage with it in a responsible way that can only empower us, strengthen us and move toward a better way of being in the world, hopefully freer than we were before. Lets consider a very fraught topic area:
"I might die because of others"
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know its true?
3. How do you react when you believe that thought? (this will be a good one to discuss in our online zoom sessions every Tuesday)
4. Who would you be if you never had that thought?
Find three places in your life where these statements are true or truer. Go very quiet, take your time, wait for things to surface, all of it is welcome. Now write it down. Write the thoughts in response to these questions as a meditation. Bring it to the Zoom on Tuesday. Lets do this together.
Email me for the zoom link or sign up here. We start 7pm this Tuesday March 24th, 2020. See you there.
Byron Katie asks us to question our thoughts so we can awaken from the dream we find ourselves in.
The 'dream' she talks about is the automated, autopilot, conditioned self that goes through the motions day in, day out. She calls this the 'dream' state - the state of mind that doesn't stop to do 'the work' (the four questions) when we are triggered or upset in any way.
Simply put, when we believe our thoughts, we suffer. Added to which Katie notes that there are no new stressful thoughts. They (stressful thoughts) have been around since the beginning of time, since the oldest story ever written. This is great news because it means that suffering is finite, has an end, and we can achieve peace and happiness, no matter what! Katie speaks from her own experience - she has suffered organ shutdown, gone blind and lost consciousness and all the while, she just questioned her thoughts and watched as she noticed her beliefs around these events. When she believed her thoughts, she suffered. When she didn't, she was free.
Would you like to be free? Lets to the work together at LECNA Community Centre in Springwood, Tuesday Nights 7pm-8:30pm. $5 door entry fee.
To earn someone's trust we have to truly hear them. Every human being needs to feel they are respected, and that they matter.
Empathic listening is a way to earn that trust. By listening for the fact of what is being said, feeling the feeling they have, and then searching for the need is a way you can reflect back to the person what they have said in a way they feel truly heard.
This technique is very difficult to do at first, but over time as you become well versed in being able to pull out the fact, the feeling and the need, and putting that in a sentence that you deliver back to the other person in a way that helps them feel that you really get them.
I have to cook every night for a large family, and when I get home I just feel angry because I am tired and no-one helps me.
FACT: Has to cook FEELING: angry, tired NEED: Support, help
You are angry because you need some support with the cooking when you are tired?
You are angry because you need some help when you are tired and you have to cook?
To learn more and practice this skill, join us at Belief Busters on Tuesday night at LECNA Community Centre, 55-57 Cinderella Drive, Springwood. You are invited to learn how to use this deep listening when working on your beliefs, we get to see the facts, feelings and needs in amongst story being told.
Isolation and loneliness are have been written about as the latest epidemic in our modern society. Humans are social beings and their survival through the ages has depended on this very fact. Yet, in our neighbourhoods and our shopping centres, people feel very isolated and alone despite having access to all the technological tools in the world to connect. Why is this?
I remember a time when visiting people was a thing we did on weekends. We would sit for hours, talking and having fun. While this happens online, it doesn't seem quite the same anymore. Life has become packed, busy with all the things that keep us stuck in our phones, and not present to those in our immediate surrounds.
So how do we get back to connection? Here is a list of what we can do to start to move in that direction.
12 Steps Back to Connection
1. Learn about Needs and make a list of your needs.
2. Learn about Feelings - how do you feel when your needs get met, or don't get met.
3. Get clear about your Beliefs on getting your needs met - attend Belief Busters, or do The Work of Byron Katie.
4. Brainstorm ideas around what you discovered in Step 3.
5. Cherry pick only the best ones.
6. Structure a request around how to get your needs met.
7. Consider the timing and do-ability of your request.
8. Make time for your request (not a demand) to be communicated, then communicate it.
9. Wait for the person to respond, and don't always expect agreement.
10. If needed, use active and empathic listening to discuss your request.
11. Experience connection if the person does connect with you, or modify your request according to the feedback you get.
12. Bask in the glory of connecting with another person in a shared experience of trying to get your needs met so you both can feel good.
The script above has come from personal trial and error, and a multitude of approaches to communication. If you need any help with communication at home, or in the workplace, and want to learn more about how to enjoy your social life, book a session with me, or come to Belief Busters at the LECNA Community Centre in Springwood, 7pm - 8:30pm, Tuesday evenings, $5 door entry.
Have you ever felt drained by your partner? Like everything you do is neither noticed or acknowledged? You feel like you have been taken for granted and receive nothing in return?
This symptom usually indicates there is an imbalance in giving and taking. I can already hear you saying: "Sure! I already know what that is about! You are not telling me anything new!" I agree. BUT... here is the secret sauce... there are some tells that allow us to see where giving and taking is not just about about loving and giving everything you've got. Its about reciprocation, a full exchange, where each gives a little more each time there is an exchange.
What to do with someone who fasts or helps too much?
This is where it gets tricky. Beliefs around giving and taking may prevent a person from not taking or worse, make them give too much. Previous childhood experiences may have something to do with it where they may have had a dangerous parent, or they were bullied at school. It could also have to do with feeling safe, and their experience of relationships e.g. did they keep their friends, lose their person etc.
When it really is too much to handle...
If the behaviour is starting to damage a relationship, make someone feel uncomfortable or causes them to want to leave the the relationship, then its time to see a counsellor. You can also attend Belief Busters at the LECNA Community Centre this Tuesday evening at 7pm to learn more about giving and taking in relationships. SMS Nikki Ward on 0417 435029 to book in.
Recently, my partner and I discussed travelling overseas to see his mother who is elderly and frail. He kept saying "I don't want to travel alone, come with me". To me, I only heard: "He didn't actually ask ME to travel with him". The way he said it, I felt he may as well could have anyone travelling with him - his son, or anyone, Donald Trump, Julia Gillard!
I started feeling really hurt because he didn't actually say: "Nikki, I want you to travel with me." In my heart, I really wanted him to choose me. I was waiting for an invitation from him to invite ME, I needed confirmation that no-one else would do, that I am special to him, and I am the person he wants by his side.
When we have thoughts about our partner's actions, some these thoughts can really hurt, for example,
"He didn't ask me to travel with him".
And this means: "He doesn't love me."
So lets take this to enquiry using a few questions and then we will flip the statement a few times.
Is this thought true? Can I absolutely know that this thought is true?
How do I react when I believe the thought?
Who would I be without the thought?
Now turn it around to the opposite, the self and the other.
He does love me
Find three places in your life where that is true.
Find three places in your life where that is true.
Find three places in your life where that is true.
Actions, Insights and Realisations:
1. Action: I need to own this - clean up my mess and repair where I can with my partner so that next time this happens we are clear, I am clear and he feels honoured, respected, and supported as am I.
2. Realisation: I was so desperate to hear him claim me and save me in my Cinderella world that I didn't show up for him when he needs me and my support. I didn't think about 'We' - I just thought about 'Me'. He is simply a reflection of how I come to the relationship. The couple bubble of us two together was replaced with me in my corner, and you in yours. This needs to be repaired, as soon as possible. This is where I would use non-violent communication and method III - communicating in a way that allows us both to get our needs satisfied.
3. Insights: I say things to please people but don't follow through on them. I did say to his mother that I would be coming with him and now I am not. I need to repair this too as I do feel guilty about this lack of integrity.
Have you ever had a traumatic experience where you saw something disturbing but didn't feel upset until a few days afterwards?
When we experience stressful events, we may not fully experience the effect of those events until after the event has happened. This is because our mind speed doesn't always equal our body speed. We may experience a 'delayed reaction' that can cause us to feel anxious, to numb out on alcohol, food or cigarettes or worse, experience depression.
Lets take a closer look. The body sends out signals, but the mind doesn't always pick up on the alerts until it really starts to register an uncomfortable feeling in the body. We may feel heat in the tummy or lightness in the chest for example. Don't worry - its temporary, and it will go away however, over time, the more we ignore it, the more the sensation can intensify, especially if our stress levels are already high.
Anxiety is the body's way of signalling to the mind "Hey! The Fire Truck is out and ready to address the threat, but the Alarm Bell in the head is unplugged!". The trouble is, by the time we feel the sensation, very often it is difficult to pinpoint the origin of the anxiety.
This is where EFT comes in. Emotional Freedom Technique is a simple tapping method that helps to identify what is behind our anxiety by tapping on the acupressure points connected to the hypothalmic points in the brain. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain responsible for fight or flight so when the nervous system is elevated, it is important to learn how to connect body to mind so that body-mind talk can happen, and the threat the body perceives, can be converted into words. When this happens, and there is an inner dialogue between body and mind and this is what I call 'bodytalk'. When this dialogue happens, just like magic, the anxiety signals experienced in the body, become settled and vanish.
If you would like to learn more about EFT, then I invite you to attend the my 1 day workshop detailed in the Events page in July at the Relaxation Centre of Queensland. We will learn how to do EFT and you will get to experience first hand the wonders of this technique.
Image courtesy of EFTTappingtechniques.com (c)
Where there is one, there is always the other
It takes real courage to turn the light back in on yourself, and get clear about what it is you need to do in your relationship, especially when it gets to the point of using terms like narcissist. So here is the difficult bit to swallow with 'where there is one, there is always the other.'
If your partner calls you a narcissist, then sure as nuts, there are also times when they are also narcissistic or vice versa. I know, it sucks to realise that it is also possible that you yourself may have a part to play in the creation of your partner's behaviour. These are the blindspots, and because our pain prevents us from seeing reality in a 360 degree view, it does take a professional counsellor to help you navigate this in terms of what is real and what is not. Its not always something you can see yourself or call you or your partner out on either. If you do see it, then how to remedy it is where I come in. I show you how to navigate this area with communication, challenging our thoughts and looking at the family system to see what is the story that needs to be told.
All said and done, its can be a joy to keep exploring your relationship for the gifts it brings, the good and the bad. If it brings you to a exploratory journey around the power of labels, and how they should be used or not used, then we could agree that your partner is your best teacher.
Panic attacks are what they are - your body is saying "No!", and sending you a message that deep spiritual work that needs to happen. This is part of what drives your spirit to signal through your sub-conscious mind and your body, that a deep listening needs to occur.
Sometimes our lives are such, that time doesn't permit this to happen, or we use movies, booze, sex, drugs to numb out, and when that temporary fix wears off we are back where we started, anxious and without the skills to be able to look at what is really going on for us. First up, lets look at what do if you are feeling anxious right now, and then what you can do when you have brought your anxiety down a notch or two and you are no longer in panic mode.
When you are over the panic attack, here is what you need to do:
When you are feeling fine again, and your anxiety has dropped a notch, start to consider lifestyle changes - food, sleep, diet, alcohol, exercise, work patterns, stress management.
If you find that taking these steps don't help reduce symptoms, then it is time to see your counsellor. That's me!
Sometimes anxiety has deeper roots in your family system, your physiology, your thinking patterns, your life situation or past development or event trauma. That's when you come and see me. Together we can explore this area as I meet you where you are at, shine a light in the dark places so you can discover what is true and doable for you. I work with you, using a range of tools and techniques, in a respectful, non-judgmental and supportive environment, to build your confidence back up again, until you realise, you don't need to see me anymore because you are doing just fine.
I am passionate about being the catalyst for change for the better, supporting the greater good to create causes and conditions to benefit everyone down the track.
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